published on February 28, 2017 - 3:56 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The federal Bureau of Reclamation is changing up its normal February water delivery announcement, with some water districts reaping the full benefits of the historically wet winter while others remain in the dark.

 

Friant Division contractors should expect to receive 100 percent of Class 1 supplies, as should American River Division and Eastside Water Service contractors.

Altogether, Central Valley Project contractors south of the Delta should expect at least 900,000 acre-feet of water deliveries, according to initial estimates.

In a departure from previous years, the Bureau of Reclamation said other contractors in the region will have to wait until mid-to-late March for an initial contract allocation.

“As Reclamation continues to refine the water supply allocation for these contractors, Reclamation will take advantage of the current hydrology to ensure specific districts’ water needs are met to the maximum extent practicable,” according to a news release. “While this allocation approach is warranted now, in future years Reclamation will continue to strive to release initial allocations for all water users in February.”

Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said in a statement that the delay harms Westside federal water contractors who already aren’t expecting much.

“Cropping decisions are taking place now! Farmers cannot make choices on what might be an allocation…they need real numbers,” he said. “Every day that passes without an announcement, as well as anything short of a 100 percent allocation in a year like this, takes some of the world’s most fertile fields out of production. This is completely unacceptable.”


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